GRACIE (Davis Guggenheim). 95 minutes. Opens Friday (June 22). Rating: N
Gracie is either the most expensive home movie ever made or a weak after-school special on the importance of reaching for your dreams. Either way, the film is hardly worth the effort.
Directed by Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth) and starring his wife, Elizabeth Shue , the sports drama draws on Shue family history, including the actor's high school soccer ambitions.
After losing her star-athlete brother in a car crash, the title character (an uneven Carly Schroeder ) becomes determined to take his place on the varsity soccer squad. But because it's the 1970s in New Jersey, her traditional father/coach ( Dermot Mulroney ) doesn't think girls should play with the rough-and-tumble boys.
Hitting all the expected sports-movie clichés and plot points (including a ridiculously pat climax), Guggenheim seems content to merely light a scene, add a few killer songs and let the characters take over. Unfortunately, Al Gore reciting FIFA rules would have made a more compelling protagonist than Gracie, who's alternately a rebel, sad sack and athletic dynamo, sometimes all in the same scene.
The film eventually collapses under its own vanity-project weight, leaving nothing but a slick layer of melodrama behind. At least the Shue family will have something to watch over Christmas.